Author Topic: Iraq Inquiry: The First Big Lie  (Read 17355 times)


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Iraq Inquiry: The First Big Lie
« on: November 25, 2009, 07:09:05 PM »
Iraq Inquiry: The First Big Lie
Sir John Chilcot was just ten minutes in to the first public session of the Iraq Inquiry when he told the first big lie - and a lie which, when examined, exposes the entire charade.

"My colleagues and I come to this inquiry with an open mind."

That is demonstrably untrue. Three of the five members - Rod Lyne, Martin Gilbert and Lawrence Freedman - are prominent proponents of the Iraq war. By contrast, nobody on the committee was in public against the invasion of Iraq. How can it be fine to pack the committee with supporters of the invasion, when anyone against the invasion was excluded?

Let us look at that committee:

Sir John Chilcot

Member of the Butler Inquiry which whitewashed the fabrication of evidence of Iraqi WMD. The fact is that, beyond doubt, the FCO and SIS knew there were no Iraqi WMD. In the early 1990's I had headed the FCO Section of the Embargo Surveillance Centre, tasked with monitoring and preventing Iraqi attempts at weapons procurement. In 2002 I was on a course for newly appointed Ambassadors alongside Bill Patey, who was Head of the FCO Department dealing with Iraq. Bill is a fellow Dundee University graduate and is one of the witnesses before the Iraq Inquiry this morning. I suggested to him that the stories we were spreading about Iraqi WMD could not be true. He laughed and said "Of course not Craig, it's bollocks". I had too many other conversations to mention over the next few months, with FCO colleagues who knew the WMD scare to be false.

Yet Chilcot was party to a Butler Inquiry conclusion that the Iraqi WMD scare was an "Honest mistake". That a man involved on a notorious whitewash is assuring us that this will not be one, is bullshit.

Bill Patey (or "Sir William", as they call him) is a witness before the committee this morning. Doubtless between Sir John and he, they will manage to steer round the fact he knew there were no WMD.

Funny thing is that, just as with Sir Michael Wood and his view on the legality of torture intelligence, Bill Patey is also an extremely nice man. When you unleash the evil of aggressive war, the corruption of your own body politic is one of the consequences.

Sir Roderick Lyne

Last time I actually spoke to him we were both Ambassadors and on a British frigate moored on the Neva in St Petersburg. Colleagues may have many words to describe Rod Lyne, some of them complimentary, but "open-minded" is not one of them.

If the Committee were to feel that the Iraq War was a war crime, then Rod Lyne would be accusing himself. As Ambassador to Moscow he was active in trying to mitigate Russian opposition to the War. He personally outlined to the Russian foreign minister the lies on Iraqi WMD. There was never the slightest private indication that Lyne had any misgivings about the war.

From Uzbekistan we always copied Moscow in on our reporting telegrams, for obvious reasons. Lyne responded to my telegrams protesting at the CIA's use of intelligence from the Uzbek torture chambers, by requesting not to be sent such telegrams. Somewhat off topic but amusingly, he also responded to my telegram warning about Alisher Usmanov and his growing influence in the UK, saying that Moscow had never heard of the man - one of Putin's closes oligarchs.

An open mind? Really?

Sir Lawrence Freedman

Lawrence Freedman is the most appalling choice of all. The patron saint of "Justified" wars of aggression, and exponent of "Wars of Choice" and "Humanitarian Intervention". He is 100% parti pris.

Here is part of his evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution on 18 January 2006:

The basic idea here is that our armed forces prepared for what we might call wars of necessity, that the country was under an existential threat so if you did not respond to that threat then in some very basic way our vital interests, our way of life, would be threatened, and when you are looking at certain such situations, these are great national occasions. The difficulty we are now facing with wars of choice is that these are discretionary and the government is weighing a number of factors against each other. I mentioned Sierra Leone but Rwanda passed us by, which many people would think was an occasion when it would have been worth getting involved. There was Sudan and a lot of things have been said about Darfur but not much has happened...
...Iraq was a very unusual situation where it was not an ongoing conflict. If we had waited things would not have been that much different in two or three months' time and so, instead of responding either to aggression by somebody else, as with the Falklands, or to developing humanitarian distress, as in the Balkans, we decided that security considerations for the future demanded immediate action."

An open mind? Really?

Martin Gilbert

Very right wing historian whose biography of Churchill focussed on Gilbert's relish for war and was otherwise dull. (Roy Jenkins' Churchill biography is infinitely better). Gilbert is not only rabidly pro-Iraq War, he actually sees Blair as Churchill.

Although it can easily be argued that George W Bush and Tony Blair face a far lesser challenge than Roosevelt and Churchill did - that the war on terror is not a third world war - they may well, with the passage of time and the opening of the archives, join the ranks of Roosevelt and Churchill. Their societies are too divided today to deliver a calm judgment, and many of their achievements may be in the future: when Iraq has a stable democracy, with al-Qaeda neutralised, and when Israel and the Palestinian Authority are independent democracies, living side by side in constructive economic cooperation.,,1379819,00.html
An open mind? Really?

Baroness Prashar

Less known, and my cynical side says she ticked the female and ethnic minority boxes. But a governor of the FCO institution the Ditchley Foundation - of which the Director is Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the UK Ambassador to the UN who presented the lies about Iraqi WMD and was intimately involved in the lead in to war. So very much another cosy foreign policy insider.

So, in short, the committee - all appointed by Gordon Brown - have been very obviously picked to provide a complete whitewash. They are people whose attitudes and mindset lead them to accept the war as justified without the need for conscious connivance on their part. But if conscious connivance should be required, they are just the boys for it.


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Re: Iraq Inquiry: The First Big Lie
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2009, 01:00:32 PM »
Blair 'was told Iraq had disarmed - but still went to war' Dec 10
Tony Blair was aware of last-minute intelligence revealing that Saddam Hussein had probably dismantled his chemical and biological weaponry, a key adviser has said.

Sir John Scarlett, who was the head of the Joint Intelligence Committee in the run-up to the war, said that two reports received in March 2003, which suggested that Iraq's weaponry had been taken to pieces, were sent directly to the former prime minister. He also said that Mr Blair was made aware of doubts over Saddam's access to the warheads needed to deliver them.

Sir John, who was responsible for the Government's dossier that claimed Saddam had weapons that could be used within 45 minutes, denied that he had come under pressure to "sex up" the document. However, he admitted for the first time that a crucial part of the dossier was not clear about the threat posed by Saddam, meaning that the seriousness of the claim that the Iraqi leader could launch an attack was "lost in translation".
He told the Iraq inquiry that the document should have made clear |that the 45-minute claim was only meant to refer to battlefield weapons and not those that could be used to attack other countries. "The matter would not have been lost in translation, if it had been spelt out in the dossier that the word was ‘munitions' not ‘weapons'," Sir John said. "There was absolutely no conscious intention to manipulate the language or obfuscate or create a misunderstanding as to what they might refer to."

He said the dossier had been based on "reliable and authoritative" intelligence, received at the start of September, that was "sufficiently authoritative to firm up whether or not Iraq did currently possess chemical and biological agents".

However, he distanced himself from Mr Blair's foreword to the document, published in September 2002, which claimed that intelligence information meant that it was "beyond doubt" that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Though Sir John admitted he had seen the foreword, and even made several alterations to it, he concluded that it was "quite separate" from the contents of the dossier. "The foreword was an overtly political statement by the Prime Minister so it was his wording and his comments throughout," he said.

On 7 March, less than two weeks before the invasion, Sir John confirmed that new evidence suggested that "Iraq had no missiles that could reach Israel and none that could carry germ or biological weapons". A second piece of intelligence on 17 March, and discussed at a meeting on the day before the invasion, said "chemical weapons had been disassembled and dispersed and would be difficult to reassemble".

A report in December 2002 had already reported Iraq may not have warheads to deliver chemical and biological weapons. "That was the picture that was being presented both through the reporting and through the updates," he said. "Those reports, I understand, went directly to the Prime Minister's office. The updates were certainly available to him, too. This information was definitely known."

The new evidence was not acted upon because intelligence forces believed Saddam had dismantled his weapons as a ploy to avoid detection. Nevertheless, Sir John said it was made clear to ministers that the policy would "have consequences on [Iraq's] ability to deploy chemical and biological warheads".

Ed Davey, foreign affairs spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, attacked the inquiry team after it was revealed Sir John would be giving more evidence in private. He also said that the former MI6 chief's claim that there were no attempts to manipulate the September dossier "stretched credibility".

"John Scarlett was a central figure in the intelligence claims that were made to support the illegal invasion of Iraq," he said. "The cursory level of questioning undertaken in public – and the announcement that further appearances will be behind closed doors - is deeply disappointing. It looks like the Chilcot Inquiry may have failed its first test on transparency."

Campbell and Scarlett: Was there pressure to 'sex up' intelligence?

* Sir John Scarlett, who until recently was the head of MI6, was chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee when it produced the now notorious dossier of September 2002 which spelled out the case for military action against Iraq. It contained the claim that Saddam Hussein's regime could launch weapons of mass destruction at British targets within 45 minutes - which would later lie at the heart of a row between the Government and the BBC and culminated in the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly.

* While Sir John told the Iraq inquiry that he did not come under any pressure to "sex up" the dossier, a number of key figures within the Government at the time did have influence over the document.

* Although Alastair Campbell had no role in the claim that Mr Hussein could launch an attack within 45 minutes, he did suggest 11 changes to a draft copy, all of which were accepted. They included altering how biological weapons "could be used" to "are capable of being used", and changing "may have" to "have", in regard to the authority of Mr Hussein's sons to launch weapons.